President Hakainde Hichilema has arrived in Rome, Italy, accompanied by First Lady Mutinta Hichilema and Foreign Affairs Minister Stanley Kakubo, for a reciprocal State visit at the invitation of His Excellency Mr. Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italy.
In an official statement issued by Clayson Hamasaka, Chief Communications Specialist at State House, the visit builds on the strengthened bilateral and international cooperation established during President Mattarella’s trip to Zambia on July 7th, 2022.
During that visit, President Mattarella commended Zambia as a beacon of peace and a promoter of democratic principles, expressing Italy’s commitment to assisting Zambia across various economic sectors, including mining, agriculture, health, and education.
President Hichilema’s agenda during the visit includes discussions on Zambia’s strategic geographical location, endowed with fertile arable land and abundant fresh water sources, despite the challenges posed by climate change.
A highlight of the visit is the Zambia-Italian Business Forum, where President Hichilema is set to make a compelling business case for Zambia, encouraging Italian investors to collaborate with local Zambians.
The focus will be on promoting business investments and partnerships that enhance local production through in-country mineral extraction, processing, and value addition, with the goal of generating employment and bolstering the local currency through increased exports.
The Chief Communications Specialist at State House said that the President is also expected to address the issue of reviewing the cost of capital that has historically disadvantaged Africa. This discussion reflects Zambia’s commitment to fostering a more equitable economic landscape on the continent.
During the visit, President Hichilema plans to express gratitude to Italy for its support in securing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and facilitating debt restructuring talks.
Additionally, he will acknowledge Italy’s prompt response to Zambia’s COVID-19 challenges, particularly the donation of over 500,000 Pfizer vaccines to the Ministry of Health.
Clayson Hamasaka highlighted the significance of the visit, underlining its role in further solidifying the diplomatic ties and mutually beneficial partnerships between Zambia and Italy.